His love for K-pop began in secondary school, when a classmate showed him the music video for boy band Big Bang's Fantastic Baby.
Shawn Chua, 17, told M: "It had a very catchy beat and the costumes were very eye-catching. It made me want to know more about K-pop."
The Nanyang Polytechnic freshman majoring in Cyber Security and Forensics went on to listen to other groups such as Girl's Day and BTS.
He said: "I really liked the songs. K-pop is a completely different genre from most American music. There's this uniqueness to it."
But it was hip-hop boy band BTS that got him hooked on all things Hallyu.
Shawn said: "I fell in love with their song Boy In Luv. While researching on the band, I decided to find out more about the different aspects of Korean culture, like the TV dramas, food and language."
Eventually, Shawn started new CCA club K-Wave after Club Crawl, Nanyang Polytechnic's annual CCA event in April, and it was officially launched in June. There are 12 dance clubs at Nanyang Polytechnic, with K-Wave being its latest addition.
He said: "I did research before I enrolled in the school and found out that there's a demand for a Korean-culture club, so I started a group with my classmates who were also K-pop fans."
The 50 members learn K-pop dance choreography and different aspects of Korean culture and K-Wave also holds its own activity Running Teens.
Based on the popular Korean game show Running Man, it involves members going around the campus solving puzzles and completing missions.
On his goals for K-Wave next year, Shawn said: "At the moment, we want to share Korean culture with people who want to know more. But we hope to be able to hold a nationwide Running Teens event if possible."
Ngee Ann Polytechnic started its Korean Culture Club in 2006. It has 150 members now.
The club's president Nurul Afrah Zaini, 19, said: "I was interested in Korean culture before I joined the club."
Her passion started five years ago, when she watched the popular idol drama Boys Over Flowers on TV.
She said: "I loved the way they spoke to each other, so I researched the language and it just grew from there.
"My parents thought it was something I would grow out of. But my love for the culture is not just a hobby, it's something I feel strongly about."
It was only when she got the chance to take her parents to Korea for a holiday that they understood why.
But Korean Culture Club is not just about K-pop, stressed Afrah, who is studying Early Childhood Education. Korean food, festivals and even KoewN history are explored and the club organises an islandwide K-pop dance competition every year.
"Most people who join our club are K-pop fans, but they don't know anything about the culture," said Afrah.
"I emphasise to members that the club is (about) Korean culture in general, not just K-pop.
"Some people still think Korean Culture Club is something frivolous, but it has changed and we are planning collaborations with other CCAs in 2015."
This article was first published on December 31, 2014.
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